Palace captain Luka Milivojevic is predicting big things from front-man Christian Benteke this season, as the squad looks to better last season’s return of a record points tally in the Premier League.
Speaking on Monday at the club’s media day, the skipper said: “We expect to have a successful season – every season you try to be better than the last. We finished 12th – but we had 49 points, which if you compare with the season before when we finished 11th – we got 44, less points. Let me say this straight - it will not be easy but we are going to try give our best, and to be better.
"It’s the most competitive league in the world, and many teams bring more players – put more quality in the team. In that case, it will not be easy for anyone. The most important is the beginning – if we begin well, I think we will not have problems in the future of the season.”
The captain expects a strong return from Benteke - after the Belgian forward was on the periphery for much of the last campaign due to a knee injury. With an uninterrupted pre-season, and two against FC Luzern and Bristol City under his belt, the Serbian thinks the number 17 is primed to begin with a bang.
“We didn’t have Benteke for long periods of the season due to injury. I expect a lot of goals for him – maybe from set-pieces. We didn’t score many last season from set pieces, but we have a weapon [in Christian] we can use. From open play too – we should score a lot, we missed a lot of chances. But in the end, we had 11 penalties – which shows you we’re around the goal, in the box.”
Milivojevic was an ever present for Palace in the league, playing every single minute of every game – a feat matched by only two other outfield players last season. “It’s not easy to play 38 games, 90 minutes in this league. It’s not easy to repeat that - there are a lot of ups and downs in the season. But I will try to do my best.
“Every single time - I try to be fit, I try to do my best for the team. Because when I’m on the pitch, I think I can help my team. Hard moments, good moments – every time, I try to be there. This season, I will try to be the same.”